7 things every motovlogger needs.

7 things every motovlogger needs

So you want to start moto vlogging, or make your current motovlogs even better? You’ve come to the right place.

Allow me a moment to tell you a little about myself. My name is Kalani Prince and I’ve been creating motovlogs on YouTube for the past 3yrs if you’re reading this in 2014. It all started out with my FIRST MOTOVLOG , which was pretty bad in terms of technical ability. The audio sucked, the video sucked, and the crashing and not being able to walk for a week sucked.

Since then, things have gotten way better and I finally feel confident in my ability to shoot and capture great audio & video. Here’s one of our latest motovlogging adventures.

This process did not come easy and I spent 1000’s of dollars getting everything just right for the perfect motovlogging setup. I hope you find some of this stuff useful for your motovlogging channel, and be sure to send me any links to your stuff, here, or on FACEBOOK. Be sure to tune in for realtime ride reports on INSTAGRAM as well.

So let’s get into it. The first thing we’ll talk about is :

1. AN ACTION CAMERA

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gopro hero 3GoPro Hero 3 + Black Edition : VIEW LINK

What can I say, I have a huge love/hate relationship with this camera. I bought the original Hero 3 Black when it was first announced and 4 RETURNS later, I finally have one that appears to be totally reliable.

View my RANT VIDEO on the original Hero 3. (Rated R FOR FOUL LANGUAGE)

The Hero 3 + fixes all the shortcomings of the original black edition and ads their superview for an even wider perspective. The widest on the market as of this writing.

This camera is hands down going to produce the best looking video of the three mentioned here. If you shoot in 2.7k then downscale to 1080p for your final render, the results are incredible.

Just be sure to get this SAMSUNG micro SD.. Trust me, this is the only card I’ve reliably used of dozens, and it just keep on writing video. No blips, skips, or drops in data. If I could revise my rant video, I’d say the Hero 3 is finally reliable and is my current camera of choice. That being said, my trusty Hero 2 will never leave my side, that thing is a tank. FIND CHEAPEST PRICES

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DRIFT HD GHOST “S” : VIEW LINK

All I can say about Drift is they make highly reliable cameras. If you want to turn the camera on, record your ride, and come home to a card full of footage, GET ONE.

Some motovloggers like the stealthy side mounted workflow whereby you get to see part of the helmet in the shot. I personally like the center mounted handlebar vibe but I digress, it’s still a great place for your cam. The rotating lens insures you always have a level horizon which is nice. The camera shoots 1080p at 60fps so you’ll never miss an opportunity to slow down that footage of your friend hitting a deer. (knock on wood)

The camera shoots 12mp photo’s and that’s great but I’d personally rather carry around a 2nd camera for that stuff. The remote is functional and shows you its recording which is further insurance you are still capturing footage! FIND CHEAPEST PRICES 

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Sony Action CameraSony HD Action Cam : VIEW LINK

Let’s just start by saying that I LOVE SONY. Their point and shoot cams are hands down, among the best on the market.

If you are allergic to excessively shaky camera syndrome like I am, the Sony Action Cam just might be the camera for you. Sony is leading in the image stabilization realm by a long shot.

The Sony Action Cam also deals with dynamic range and internal audio very well.

Some of the con’s of this camera are that the damn lens doesn’t rotate. For me that’s a no sale as I need to have the camera mounted dead center, and under my visor.. Must be a libra thing..  FIND CHEAPEST PRICES 

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The TRUSTED HERO 2 : VIEW LINK

Here’s a little story about my Hero 2 camera. It has been dremeled to death, crashed at 0mph, 15mph, and 40mph. The motherfbeepker just won’t stop working! It’s been drenched in the pacific ocean without it’s case and kept working. It’s ridden in rain for hours without a case, and kept working. It’s been left out while on my helmet in a rain storm, downpour of death and doom, all night without it’s case.. and you guessed it. It kept on working. It’s had 3.5mm audio cables ripped from it about 50 times in the jungle, kept working.. It’s fallen on rocks, been ripped off my helmet by trees and has seen sand more then once.. KEEPS ON WORKING. Oh, I also dropped it in my kitchen once. Still worked.

This camera is the most reliable piece of electronic equipment I think I’ve ever owned and what fueled my rage for the Hero 3 (since been resolved)

The image quality with ProTune turned on is pretty solid if you are running the right SAMSUNG card. You are going to have enough to worry about trying to get yourself into happy-audio-land. Check out my current audio QUALITY.

Anyways, back to the Hero 2. I have nothing negative to say about this fine camera : FIND CHEAPEST PRICES 

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2. A 2nd Camera for Vlogging & off bike moments

You could use your phone, you could use your helmet cam. But they both suck and here’s why. Lack of optical zoom. Shooting your friends at 30ft away with a wide angle lens blows, and shooting your friends with your phone most always produces sub-par audio.

The only three point and shoots I’ll cover are primarily going to be focused on VIDEO. They all shoot great pictures more then sufficient for anything that is destined for the web as well! Just troll my FACEBOOK pics and you’ll see that  95% everything shot before Christmas of this year was captured on one of these Sony’s.

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Sony HX9V

 

The Sony HX9v : VIEW LINK

All of the following Sony’s shoot at 1920X1080 60fps at 28mbps. This camera is great! My “Hero2” of point-and-shoots if you will. The camera has also seen it all and been through many crashes, broken LCD’s, compressed lenses, etc.. Keeps on working. The image is clean and the audio it captures is nothing short of amazing for a camera you can now find for less then $200. Highly recommend this little powerhouse.

Here’s a video where all 2nd camera stuff is shot with the Sony HX9V – VIDEO

The reasoning behind my Sony loyalty at this moment in time is for two reasons.. First off, Sony is really leading the way in image stabilization. THIS. IS. HUGE. The camera will deal with a lot of your shaky tendencies and do it very well. No other company is even close to providing such functional image stabilization in a small package. All three cams here will produce the same amazing stabilization.

The Sony HX9V has a max ZOOM of 16x optically which is 24mm-384mm in 35mm Full Frame terms. FIND CHEAPEST PRICES

Don’t forget your SAMSUNG SD CARD OF AMAZINGNESS!  

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The Sony HX50v : VIEW LINK

For all intensive purposes, the Sony HX50V is going to produce the same looking video as the HX9V with the exception of a whopping 24mm-720mm  OPTICAL ZOOM. Optical zoom is the only way to go.. Don’t be fooled by crazy zoom claims if they are DIGITAL. You want your zoom range to be all glass baby! The HX50V also shoots 20mp stills vs the HX9V’s 16mp stills. You’ll also get a hot shoe if you want to connect your favorite flash and or accessories.

 FIND CHEAPEST PRICES

Don’t forget your SAMSUNG SD CARD OF AMAZINGNESS!  

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Sony RX100

The Sony RX100 : VIEW LINK

This camera is a beast and my current camera of choice. What sets it apart from the other two is the massive 1″ Exmor R sensor within. This thing behaves more like a proper DSLR then anything else.

  • Low Light Capability = Fantastic
  • Shallow Depth of Field = Totally Doable
  • Audio = Crispy and Cleeeeeaaan

Some of the downfalls of this camera are A.It’s not a tank and I’m on my second camera replacement. Take care of it with a hard case or you’ll be sorry : ) It only has a 3.6 OPTICAL zoom which is OK but damn it, I miss my 16x + Zooooom! Battery life is good but not AS good as the HX9V. Must be that 1″ sensor just sucking it down. I carry an extra Sony Battery, so it’s no big deal. FIND CHEAPEST PRICES

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3. A HELMET 

I’m pretty ICON biased so I’ll make this section short : )

The Icon Variant is my go-to helmet of choice. Why? Because it allows me to center mount the camera, Hero2, or 3 under the visor and still retain full use of the windshield. It’s great, the camera doesn’t get in my way and I can quickly glance up to see my REC light is still blinking.

IconIcon Variant Blue Etched (my current helmet)

I love this helmet. Here’s my review on it: VIDEO PS: The defog click has been added to all 2013 and up helmets.

Don’t forget your GOLDEN FACE SHEILD. Booyah!!

 learn more^^

Icon

 ICON VARIANT Carbon (baller status)

learn more^^

AFX

AFX FX-39DS Dual Sport Motorcycle Helmet 

learn more^^

FLY RACING

Fly Racing Trekker

  learn more^^

GMax

GMAX GM11D

  learn more^^

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4. Audio, audio, audio!

Arguably the most important key to your motovlogs being watched or clicked out of. It’s pretty simple really. If your viewer can’t hear you, or there’s tons of wind noise : GAME. OVER. And now for a shameless plug.

I make windscreens for DIGITAL RECORDERS. I will also custom make some “Mini’s” for your lav mic if you need them. Just send me an EMAIL with the heading “I NEED A WINDSCREEN” and we can talk about how to help you fight the evil and wicked wind monster! Moving on..

First off. DO NOT, AND I REPEAT, DO NOT THINK YOU WILL MAKE VLOGS WITH THE INTERNAL MIC OF ANY ACTION CAM. Clean audio is of PARAMOUNT IMPORTANCE! Get an external MICROPHONE!

For lavelier mics, you have three options basically. Powered, Non-Powered, Mono, and Stereo. I’ll make this part of the story pretty simple.

Get the >>AUDIO TECHNICA ATR 3350!<<

ATR 3350 powered lav micBut why Kalani? Why should I get the 3350?!!  

I know, I know.. I WANT to give you more options, and I will.. but this is currently the best possible mic you can plug into your action cam and get REALLY. GREAT. AUDIO. Without ripping your hair out like I did.

Small note before I forget. If you get this awesome $24mic, don’t forget to get a 50 pack of the BATTERIES it takes. Ok, that was close..

This is a powered microphone which means your action camera is going to be very happy. You will experience less PEAKING and more clarity.

Some of the downsides of this mic.

A. It comes with like a 15ft or some shite, CORD. Most of us will wrap the wire up in the helmet below the padding which solves the problem but I personally cut and re-soldered mine. BEWARE : Those wires are tiny, and you might end up ordering a 2nd if you jack it up.

B. It’s powered and is rated at running for 40hrs but there is no indication light, nada.. It’s a guessing game if you aren’t accurately logging your hours which can be a pain. I just ordered a shitload of the BATTERIES it takes, they are cheap as hell, and are replaced about every 3 full day rides.

C. Don’t forget to switch your mic ON.. If you do, you’ll come home to ZERO audio as plugging it in, even when off will turn off your cameras internal mic. Fuuuuuuuuuun!!

If you can manage these con’s, you’ll love the ATR-3350 buy Now>

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The >>ZOOM H2N DIGITAL RECORDER<<

**DISCLAIMER : This Set-Up is a pain in the arse but once set up will create a very powerful audio setup for your helmet. The key factor being able to hear your friends relatively clearly when they are nearby and you are still on your bike. This setup is not for everyone and pretty much turns your helmet into a clunky production helmet : )

Zoom H2nThe mighty ZOOM H2N DIGITAL RECORDER

So I actually have this unit bolted to the back of my helmet. I have removed the internal mics, and relocated them up front.

I will make a tutorial on this if enough people express interest.

Over simplified, it works like this : The Zoom H2n acts as my pre-amp and the GoPro pics up all the characteristics of this circuitry through the headphone jack. There is some quality degradation by not using the internal 24bit wav files the recorder can capture but ain’t nobody got no time for syncing audio!

Why do I use this set-up?

Since I’m using the characteristics of the recorder, I can set my levels and gain control MANUALLY! This allows me to set the gain so when I stop talking, the gain boosts and everything OUTSIDE the helmet is heard. Start talking and it instantly drops to safe levels. This is what’s most important to me as I want some of nature and a general ambiance to be captured when the bike is off or not being raged on.

For this Set-up you will need :

  • A Zoom H2n
  • A Soldering Iron, the finer the tip, the better. I used THIS ONE.
  • A 2ft Male to Male 3.5mm audio cable for running from the H2n to the Action Camera.
  • A 12ft audio cable for re-routing the internal stereo mics. You only need a few ft but get the extra for safety!
  • Rechargable AA batteries. The Zoom H2n ROCKS! Keep it on ALL day without any worries. 2 AA’s and you’re good to go. I’ve been using these DURACELLS and love em.

If you are the handy type, you’ll be able to re-route the internal mics without much difficulty, If you aren’t, you’ll waste a couple hundred bucks. Have fun, this audio set-up RULES!

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5. 2 WAY INTERCOMS

Personally, this is one of my most enjoyable forms of motovlogs. I don’t know what it is, I just love watching two friends talk while cutting from their two camera’s. If you’ve got a buddy that want’s to go in on intercoms with you, these two systems deliver reliable results.

Here’s an example of what we’ve done with intercoms. Pardon the cheesy Chinese accents : >>VIDEO<<

The SENA SMH 10 >>VIEW LINK<<

Sena SMH 10's

 

 

 The Scala rider >>VIEW LINK<<

Scala Rider

 

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6. SD CARDS THAT WORK!

Been through them all. Stick with Samsung and you’ll be pleased. Not much to say here. They are highly reliable and just work, plain and simple.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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7. A GOOD BACKPACK

Every motovlogger needs a good backpack, whether it’s for hydration, battery storage, or to carry a raincoat & some grub. I’ve used all three of the following, and would buy any one of them again without hesitation.

Camelbak Octane 18x

The Camelbak Octane 18X >>VIEW LINK<<

My personal favorite.

  • Light as can be
  • 80oz hydration bladder
  • expandable enough to hold two 6 packs
  • easy access side pockets for batteries & SD cards
  • super functional top pouch for wallet, chapstick, whatever..

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Camelbak Ambush 100oz

The Camelbak AMBUSH >>VIEW LINK<<

  • Ample storage space
  • 100oz hydration bladder
  • Great, easy access ergonomics
  • Rugged build
  • Most comfortable

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High Sierra 70 80oz

The High Sierra Quickshot 70 >>VIEW LINK<<

  • 80oz Hydration bladder
  • Insulated water tube for you cold climate riders
  • Budget friendly pricing
  • Tons of pockets for misc items
  • Durable build
  • Comfortable chest strap

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Hope you’ve enjoyed this installment of stuffs you need if you want to get into motovlogging! See you at the movies!

Here’s one of our recent vids whereby you can see most of the stuff talked about in this blog entry, in real life :

 

 

 

 

 

 

++Kalani

I love motorcycles. I love camera's. I love you. The end-

13 Comments

  1. This is quite an excellent list of items Kalani. Thanks!
    I was wondering about audio recorders, and still wonder how the heck you sync video and audio on two devices. However, probably going to get one (as soon as I can shed this ugly afrikaans accent) and one of those redheads. I don’t have a drift ghost “S”, but just the ghost, and it’s fantastic!

    Thanks again, your vlogging shows that you put a lot of effort into it.

    Toodle doo
    M

    • If all your cams have mics, you can sync the sound of the mics during times when the ambient sound isn’t so loud.

      If they don’t, or you can’t get any good audio reference from the cams, before you head out, get a shot of you clapping on each camera. You can sync the clap video to the sound of the clap on the audio recorder. Using a Multicam editor, you’re good to go.

  2. Hi there Kalani!!
    Incredible post! Congratulations for your youtube channel. I’ve got a question for you. How the hell do you manage to record the conversation of the intercoms into your camera or mic or whatever it does so?

    Thank you very much!!

  3. Nice post Kalani. Your videos are what made me want to try Motovlogging, but I’m still pretty green at the whole thing. Put me down as interested in your Zoom H2N integration. I’m also having a hard time picturing how you don’t have ot sync your audio to video with this external recorder. I’m really looking for a better solution to vlogging in the rainy weather we have here. Right now I’m just using the same microphone you suggest above with a hole dremmeled into the case of my Hero3 Black. Thus it’s no longer waterproof if I want audio. I see some good results with mounting a mic in my jacked as Andy Bumatai has done, but am guessing I’ll then have seperate audio and video files to sync.

  4. Mostly writing to comment on the Audio Technica ATR 3350, I bought mine on your recommendation over a year ago now. Now I’m not sure if I’ve lucked myself into a realm of impossibility but rain, sun, wind blow and snow… it’s worked… not sure what the count of videos is, but I’ve used this for a whole year and still on the same batteries that came with it. The only observation and remark I can make is that the switch is flakey and I’ve gone out riding with the camera filming and convinced I turned the audio ON to get back and find it wasn’t quite switched far enough. Every time before swapping the batteries for new ones, I’ve double checked and still to this day the spare batteries are unopened.

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  6. Syncing audio is easy….. Two devices, unconnected, press record on both… Then clap really loudly in front of the camera! Just once will do.. Then in post, just line up the audio peaks. Done and done…. Piece of cake. Literally took about…. 2 seconds.

    The other thing is, if you have a smart phone, which likely came with the handsfree earplugs and inline mic…. Chop of the plugs, unless you want to keep them of course…. Makes a great lav. Now on your smartphone, if android you can download FREE, an audio recording program. Apple probably has something that will work too. With it you can record 48Khz audio, ….. Mine works awesome… Saved loads of dough.

    Just a few ideas for the savvy types who want to save some moola’s! or dont have moola’s…… W/E….

  7. Thanks for the great article. I am definitely going to take your advice and get that Audio Technica ATR 3350. I bought a cheaper one, and it is absolutely garbage.

    Keep up the great work and have a great ride…

  8. Hi Kalani, nice article. I am checking the gear you recommend :)

    I also have an Icon Variant, and would like to ask you do you exactly put the gopro camera on it. Until now I have used a chest harness to put mine, but the image is too low and want to move it to the helmet. Thank you!

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